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The Private Litigation Impact Of New York’S Green Amendment, Evan Bianchi, Sean Di Luccio, Martin Lockman, Vincent Nolette May 2024

The Private Litigation Impact Of New York’S Green Amendment, Evan Bianchi, Sean Di Luccio, Martin Lockman, Vincent Nolette

Sabin Center for Climate Change Law

The increasing urgency of climate change, combined with federal environmental inaction under the Trump Administration, inspired a wave of environmental action at the state and local level. Building on the environmental movement of the 1970s, activists have pushed to amend more than a dozen state constitutions to include “green amendments” — self-executing individual rights to a clean environment. In 2022, New York activists succeeded, and New York’s Green Amendment (the NYGA) now provides that “Each person shall have a right to clean air and water, and a healthful environment.”

However, the power of the NYGA and similar green amendments turns …


Constitutional Clash: Labor, Capital, And Democracy, Kate Andrias Jan 2024

Constitutional Clash: Labor, Capital, And Democracy, Kate Andrias

Faculty Scholarship

In the last few years, workers have engaged in organizing and strike activity at levels not seen in decades; state and local legislators have enacted innovative workplace and social welfare legislation; and the National Labor Relations Board has advanced ambitious new interpretations of its governing statute. Viewed collectively, these efforts — “labor’s” efforts for short — seek not only to redefine the contours of labor law. They also present an incipient challenge to our constitutional order. If realized, labor’s vision would extend democratic values, including freedom of speech and association, into the putatively private domain of the workplace. It would …


Courting Censorship, Philip A. Hamburger Jan 2024

Courting Censorship, Philip A. Hamburger

Faculty Scholarship

Has Supreme Court doctrine invited censorship? Not deliberately, of course. Still, it must be asked whether current doctrine has courted censorship — in the same way one might speak of it courting disaster.

The Court has repeatedly declared its devotion to the freedom of speech, so the suggestion that its doctrines have failed to block censorship may seem surprising. The Court’s precedents, however, have left room for government suppression, even to the point of seeming to legitimize it.

This Article is especially critical of the state action doctrine best known from Blum v. Yaretsky. That doctrine mistakenly elevates coercion …


Era Project Faq On The Court Of Appeals Decision In Illinois V. Ferreiro, Center For Gender And Sexuality Law Mar 2023

Era Project Faq On The Court Of Appeals Decision In Illinois V. Ferreiro, Center For Gender And Sexuality Law

Center for Gender & Sexuality Law

Illinois v. Ferriero is a lawsuit filed by the Attorneys General of the last three states that ratified the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) — Nevada, Illinois, and Virginia — asking the court to require that the ERA be officially published by the U.S. Archivist as the 28th Amendment to the Constitution. On March 5, 2021, the District Court dismissed the lawsuit on standing grounds, meaning that the three states had not shown that they suffered a legally recognized injury. The court reasoned that the Archivist’s actions have no legal effect and, as such, the states were not harmed by the …


Possible Avenues For Action Related To The Equal Rights Amendment, Center For Gender And Sexuality Law Feb 2023

Possible Avenues For Action Related To The Equal Rights Amendment, Center For Gender And Sexuality Law

Center for Gender & Sexuality Law

Resolutions have been introduced into both the House and the Senate declaring the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) to be fully ratified as the 28th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. There are other legislative steps that—while short of declaring the ERA fully ratified — could be taken to advance the measure toward final ratification, and to create political facts that would reinforce the position that the ERA is already the 28th Amendment.


Testimony To The Senate Judiciary Committee By The Era Project At Columbia Law School And Constitutional Law Scholars On Joint Resolution S.J.Res. 4: Removing The Deadline For The Ratification Of The Equal Rights Amendment, Katherine M. Franke, Laurence H. Tribe, Geoffrey R. Stone, Melissa Murray, Michael C. Dorf Feb 2023

Testimony To The Senate Judiciary Committee By The Era Project At Columbia Law School And Constitutional Law Scholars On Joint Resolution S.J.Res. 4: Removing The Deadline For The Ratification Of The Equal Rights Amendment, Katherine M. Franke, Laurence H. Tribe, Geoffrey R. Stone, Melissa Murray, Michael C. Dorf

Faculty Scholarship

The Equal Rights Amendment Project at Columbia Law School (ERA Project) and the undersigned constitutional law scholars provide the following analysis of S.J.Res. 4, resolving to remove the time limit for the ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) and declaring the ERA fully ratified.


The Right To Amend State Constitutions, Jessica Bulman-Pozen, Miriam Seifter Jan 2023

The Right To Amend State Constitutions, Jessica Bulman-Pozen, Miriam Seifter

Faculty Scholarship

This Essay explores the people's right to amend state constitutions and threats to that right today. It explains how democratic proportionality review can help courts distinguish unconstitutional infringement of the right from legitimate regulation. More broadly, the Essay considers the distinctive state constitutional architecture that popular amendment illuminates.


States Of Emergency: Covid-19 And Separation Of Powers In The States, Richard Briffault Jan 2023

States Of Emergency: Covid-19 And Separation Of Powers In The States, Richard Briffault

Faculty Scholarship

No event in recent years has shone a brighter spotlight on state separation of powers than the COVID-19 pandemic. Over a more than two-year period, governors exercised unprecedented authority through suspending laws and regulations, limiting business activities and gatherings, restricting individual movement, and imposing public health requirements. Many state legislatures endorsed these measures or were content to let governors take the lead, but in some states the legislature pushed back, particularly — albeit not only—where the governor and legislative majorities were of different political parties. Some of these conflicts wound up in state supreme courts.

This Essay examines the states’ …


Nondelegation Blues, Philip A. Hamburger Jan 2023

Nondelegation Blues, Philip A. Hamburger

Faculty Scholarship

The nondelegation doctrine is in crisis. For approximately a century, it has been the Supreme Court’s answer to questions about transfers of legislative power. But as became evident in Gundy v. United States, those answers are wearing thin. So, it is time for a new approach.

This Foreword goes beyond existing scholarship in showing how underlying principles, framing assumptions, constitutional text, and contemporary analysis are all aligned in barring transfers of power among the branches of government. Rarely in constitutional law does a conclusion about a highly contested question rest on such a powerful combination.

At the same time, …


Killing Precedent: The Slaughter-House Constitution, Maeve Glass Jan 2023

Killing Precedent: The Slaughter-House Constitution, Maeve Glass

Faculty Scholarship

This Essay offers a revisionist account of the Slaughter-House Cases. It argues that the opinion’s primary significance lies not in its gutting of the Privileges or Immunities Clause but in its omission of a people’s archive of slavery.

Decades before the decision, Black abolitionists began compiling the testimonies of refugees who had fled slavery. By 1872, this archival practice had produced a published record of Black struggle and become a platform for the celebration of Black resistance and a new era of Black leadership. Although the lead compiler of this record sent a copy to the Chief Justice, the …


State Constitutional Rights And Democratic Proportionality, Jessica Bulman-Pozen, Miriam Seifter Jan 2023

State Constitutional Rights And Democratic Proportionality, Jessica Bulman-Pozen, Miriam Seifter

Faculty Scholarship

State constitutional law is in the spotlight. As federal courts retrench on abortion, democracy, and more, state constitutions are defining rights across the nation. Despite intermittent calls for greater attention to state constitutional theory, neither scholars nor courts have provided a comprehensive account of state constitutional rights or a coherent framework for their adjudication. Instead, many state courts import federal interpretive practices that bear little relationship to state constitutions or institutions.

This Article seeks to begin a new conversation about state constitutional adjudication. It first shows how in myriad defining ways state constitutions differ from the U.S. Constitution: They protect …


Administrative Harms, Philip A. Hamburger Jan 2023

Administrative Harms, Philip A. Hamburger

Faculty Scholarship

Administrative power imposes serious wounds on the United States, its Constitution, and its citizens. Therefore, a persuasive defense of administrative power would need to respond to these harms, showing that it is constitutional and otherwise desirable, notwithstanding its many costs. If the administrative state is defensible, it will be necessary to wrestle with all of the damage it incurs.


Faq On The U.S. Archivist And The Future Of The Equal Rights Amendment, Center For Gender And Sexuality Law Sep 2022

Faq On The U.S. Archivist And The Future Of The Equal Rights Amendment, Center For Gender And Sexuality Law

Center for Gender & Sexuality Law

On Wednesday, September 21, 2022, the Senate will hold hearings on the nomination of Colleen Shogan as the new Archivist of the United States. This FAQ offers a short primer on what the Archivist does, her official role in the finalization of proposed amendments to the U.S. Constitution, including the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA), and the impact of Archivist action on the validity of the ERA.


The Equal Rights Amendment And Lgbtq Rights, Including Marriage Equality, Center For Gender And Sexuality Law Jul 2022

The Equal Rights Amendment And Lgbtq Rights, Including Marriage Equality, Center For Gender And Sexuality Law

Center for Gender & Sexuality Law

Below, we provide an analysis of the potential for the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) to strengthen protections for LGBTQ rights, including marriage equality. Currently pending before the U.S. Senate is a resolution that would lift any congressionally imposed deadline for final ratification of the ERA. Lifting that deadline would remove the last legal impediment to adding the ERA to the Constitution, which would then constitutionalize, and thus secure, rights currently enjoyed by LGBTQ people that are vulnerable to reversal by the Supreme Court in a future case.


Faq On The New York State Equality Amendment, Center For Gender And Sexuality Law Jun 2022

Faq On The New York State Equality Amendment, Center For Gender And Sexuality Law

Center for Gender & Sexuality Law

Adopted in 1938, the New York State Constitution’s equality protections fall far short of a modern notion of equality that would protect the rights of all New Yorkers. Legislation currently pending in the New York Legislature would update the state’s constitution by prohibiting forms of discrimination that are currently unrecognized by the law.


Era And Abortion Talking Points, Center For Gender And Sexuality Law May 2022

Era And Abortion Talking Points, Center For Gender And Sexuality Law

Center for Gender & Sexuality Law

The Supreme Court has voted to strike down Roe v. Wade in a leaked draft opinion by Justice Samuel Alito in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, overturning 50 years of precedent protecting the fundamental right to abortion. If this draft indeed represents the majority opinion of the Supreme Court, it will be a monumental setback for women's rights and signals that many of the most basic protections in our society, starting with reproductive rights, are under threat.


What Comes Now? Religious Liberty And The End Of Roe, Law, Rights, And Religion Project May 2022

What Comes Now? Religious Liberty And The End Of Roe, Law, Rights, And Religion Project

Center for Gender & Sexuality Law

New York, NY – The Law, Rights, and Religion Project at Columbia Law School, an academic think tank that conducts research and policy analysis on the complex ways in which religious liberty rights interact with other fundamental rights, has a number of materials that can help to shed light on three key issues around the possible end of Roe v. Wade in light of the draft Supreme Court opinion released yesterday.


Biden Administration Revises Federal Government Position On Validity Of The Equal Rights Amendment, Center For Gender And Sexuality Law Jan 2022

Biden Administration Revises Federal Government Position On Validity Of The Equal Rights Amendment, Center For Gender And Sexuality Law

Center for Gender & Sexuality Law

Today the Department of Justice (DOJ) Office of Legal Counsel (OLC) released a new opinion on the ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA). This opinion revises a 2020 OLC opinion issued under the Trump administration that declared the ERA a dead letter.


How Federalism Built The Fbi, Sustained Local Police, And Left Out The States, Daniel C. Richman, Sarah Seo Jan 2022

How Federalism Built The Fbi, Sustained Local Police, And Left Out The States, Daniel C. Richman, Sarah Seo

Faculty Scholarship

This Article examines the endurance of police localism amid the improbable growth of the FBI in the early twentieth century when the prospect of a centralized law enforcement agency was anathema to the ideals of American democracy. It argues that doctrinal accounts of federalism do not explain these paradoxical developments. By analyzing how the Bureau made itself indispensable to local police departments rather than encroaching on their turf, the Article elucidates an operational, or collaborative, federalism that not only enlarged the Bureau’s capacity and authority but also strengthened local autonomy at the expense of the states. Collaborative federalism is crucial …


Structural Biases In Structural Constitutional Law, Jonathan S. Gould, David E. Pozen Jan 2022

Structural Biases In Structural Constitutional Law, Jonathan S. Gould, David E. Pozen

Faculty Scholarship

Structural constitutional law regulates the workings of government and supplies the rules of the political game. Whether by design or by accident, these rules sometimes tilt the playing field for or against certain political factions – not just episodically, based on who holds power at a given moment, but systematically over time – in terms of electoral outcomes or policy objectives. In these instances, structural constitutional law is itself structurally biased.

This Article identifies and begins to develop the concept of such structural biases, with a focus on biases affecting the major political parties. Recent years have witnessed a revival …


The Insular Cases Run Amok: Against Constitutional Exceptionalism In The Territories, Christina D. Ponsa-Kraus Jan 2022

The Insular Cases Run Amok: Against Constitutional Exceptionalism In The Territories, Christina D. Ponsa-Kraus

Faculty Scholarship

The Insular Cases have been enjoying an improbable — and unfortunate — renaissance. Decided at the height of what has been called the “imperialist” period in U.S. history, this series of Supreme Court decisions handed down in the early twentieth century infamously held that the former Spanish colonies annexed by the United States in 1898 — Puerto Rico, the Philippines, and Guam — “belong[ed] to, but [were] not a part of, the United States.” What exactly this meant has been the subject of considerable debate even as those decisions have received unanimous condemnation. According to the standard account, the …


Conflicting Fundamental Rights Under The Indian Constitution: Analyzing The Supreme Court’S Doctrinal Gap, Nikhil Pratap Jan 2022

Conflicting Fundamental Rights Under The Indian Constitution: Analyzing The Supreme Court’S Doctrinal Gap, Nikhil Pratap

LL.M. Essays & Theses

The Constitution of India recognizes a wide variety of fundamental rights: civil and political, socio-economic, and group rights. A conflict between these rights is a common occurrence. The Supreme Court of India’s method of resolving conflicts has been ad-hoc, nebulous, and vague. The Court rarely locates the conflict at a granular level and, on the rare occasion that it does, the decision lacks comprehensive reasoning. This paper attempts to demonstrate the doctrinal, structural, and reasoning gap in the Court’s jurisprudence. The paper does so by analyzing a subset of cases where the Court has adjudicated on conflicts between the right …


Era Project Olc Letter, Katherine M. Franke, David E. Pozen, Erwin Chemerinsky, Melissa Murray, Laurence H. Tribe, Martha Minow, Geoffrey C. Stone, Cary Franklin, Michael C. Dorf, Victoria Nourse Jan 2022

Era Project Olc Letter, Katherine M. Franke, David E. Pozen, Erwin Chemerinsky, Melissa Murray, Laurence H. Tribe, Martha Minow, Geoffrey C. Stone, Cary Franklin, Michael C. Dorf, Victoria Nourse

Faculty Scholarship

The Equal Rights Amendment Project at Columbia Law School (“ERA Project”) and the undersigned scholars submit this letter at the request of your office to provide legal analysis of the January 6, 2020 Department of Justice Office of Legal Counsel Memorandum to the National Archives and Records Administration on the Equal Rights Amendment (“2020 OLC Memo”).


A Theory Of Constitutional Norms, Ashraf Ahmed Jan 2022

A Theory Of Constitutional Norms, Ashraf Ahmed

Faculty Scholarship

The political convulsions of the past decade have fueled acute interest in constitutional norms or “conventions.” Despite intense scholarly attention, existing accounts are incomplete and do not answer at least one or more of three major questions: (1) What must all constitutional norms do? (2) What makes them conventional? (3) And why are they constitutional?

This Article advances an original theory of constitutional norms that answers these questions. First, it defines them and explains their general character: they are normative, contingent, and arbitrary practices that implement constitutional text and principle. Most scholars have foregone examining how norms are conventional or …


Is A Science Of Comparative Constitutionalism Possible?, Madhav Khosla Jan 2022

Is A Science Of Comparative Constitutionalism Possible?, Madhav Khosla

Faculty Scholarship

Nearly a generation ago, Justice Scalia and Justice Breyer debated the legitimacy and value of using foreign law to interpret the American Constitution. At the time, the matter was controversial and invited the interest of both judges and scholars. Foreign law had, after all, been relied on in significant cases like Roper v. Simmons and Lawrence v. Texas. Many years on, there is still much to be debated — including the purpose and potential benefits of judicial engagement with foreign law — but “comparative constitutional law” has unquestionably emerged as a field of study in its own right. We …


Countering The New Election Subversion: The Democracy Principle And The Role Of State Courts, Jessica Bulman-Pozen, Miriam Seifter Jan 2022

Countering The New Election Subversion: The Democracy Principle And The Role Of State Courts, Jessica Bulman-Pozen, Miriam Seifter

Faculty Scholarship

Among the threats to American democracy, the most serious may also be the most banal: future elections will be compromised by quiet changes to the law. State legislators across the country have introduced bills that give them power to reject the will of voters. They have established sham audits and investigations. And they have created new criminal offenses that undermine professional election administration. While power-shifting legislation, audits, and criminal penalties advertise their fealty to law, they threaten the franchise and electoral integrity, as well as nonpartisan, expert election administration. Because of its ostensibly legal, even legalistic, character, however, the new …


Courts, Constitutionalism, And State Capacity: A Preliminary Inquiry, Madhav Khosla, Mark Tushnet Jan 2022

Courts, Constitutionalism, And State Capacity: A Preliminary Inquiry, Madhav Khosla, Mark Tushnet

Faculty Scholarship

Modern constitutional theory deals almost exclusively with the mechanisms for controlling the exercise of public power. In particular, the focus of constitutional scholars lies in explaining and justifying how courts can effectively keep the exercise of public power within bounds. But there is little point in worrying about the excesses of government power when the government lacks the capacity to get things done in the first place. In this Article, we examine relations between the courts, constitutionalism, and state capacity other than through limiting state power. Through a series of case studies, we suggest how courts confront the problem of …


Federalism And Equal Citizenship: The Constitutional Case For D.C. Statehood, Jessica Bulman-Pozen, Olatunde C.A. Johnson Jan 2022

Federalism And Equal Citizenship: The Constitutional Case For D.C. Statehood, Jessica Bulman-Pozen, Olatunde C.A. Johnson

Faculty Scholarship

As the question of D.C. statehood commands national attention, the legal discourse remains stilted. The constitutional question we should be debating is not whether statehood is permitted but whether it is required.

Commentators have been focusing on the wrong constitutional provisions. The Founding document and the Twenty-Third Amendment do not resolve D.C.’s status. The Reconstruction Amendments — and the principle of federated, equal citizenship they articulate — do. The Fourteenth Amendment’s Citizenship Clause, as glossed by subsequent amendments, not only establishes birthright national citizenship and decouples it from race and caste but also makes state citizenship a constitutive component of …


The Legal Origins Of Catholic Conscientious Objection, Jeremy K. Kessler Jan 2022

The Legal Origins Of Catholic Conscientious Objection, Jeremy K. Kessler

Faculty Scholarship

This Article traces the origins of Catholic conscientious objection as a theory and practice of American constitutionalism. It argues that Catholic conscientious objection emerged during the 1960s from a confluence of left-wing and right-wing Catholic efforts to participate in American democratic culture more fully. The refusal of the American government to allow legitimate Catholic conscientious objection to the Vietnam War became a cause célèbre for clerical and lay leaders and provided a blueprint for Catholic legal critiques of other forms of federal regulation in the late 1960s and early 1970s — most especially regulations concerning the provision of contraception and …


Discriminatory Taint, Kerrel Murray Jan 2022

Discriminatory Taint, Kerrel Murray

Faculty Scholarship

The truism that history matters can hide complexities. Consider the idea of problematic policy lineages. When may we call a policy the progeny of an earlier, discriminatory policy, especially if the policies diverge in design and designer? Does such a relationship condemn the later policy for all times and purposes, or can a later decisionmaker escape the past? It is an old problem, but its resolution hardly seems impending. Just recently, Supreme Court cases have confronted this fact pattern across subject matters as diverse as entry restrictions, nonunanimous juries, and redistricting, among others. Majority opinions seem unsure whether or why …